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2014 Draft Prep: Golden Tate will be a Fantasy star

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Prior to the start of preseason action, many Fantasy owners were skeptical of Golden Tate. They likely weren't expecting a big statistical leap despite his move from Seattle to Detroit.

It will be interesting to see how things change now that we've seen Tate on the field.

He's has come out and played well through two games, especially the second outing against Oakland when he had three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. We never doubted Tate would shine with the Lions and the prediction here is Tate will be a Fantasy star this season.

Before the preseason started, Tate's Average Draft Position was No. 77 overall, which is Round 7 in a 12-team league. He was being drafted after guys like DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders and Julian Edelman, among others. I'd gladly take Tate over those receivers, and I would draft him as early as Round 5.

Now, to be fair, Tate has never had a big season before. His best finish as a Fantasy option was last year when he was the No. 28 receiver in standard leagues with 64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns in Seattle.

But moving from the run-oriented Seahawks to the pass-happy Lions is the equivalent of taking off training wheels. It's time for Tate to fly.

What we like about Tate is he's among the most reliable receivers in the NFL with only five drops since 2011. He has caught 144 of 149 catchable passes thrown his way over that span, according to Pro Football Focus.

His hands are going to be tested because Matthew Stafford has attempted at least 630 passes in three consecutive years. By comparison, Russell Wilson has combined for 800 passes the past two seasons.

Tate had just 98 targets last season, but that number should rise significantly. He will be in single coverage on nearly every play because of Calvin Johnson drawing constant attention. And Stafford has had plenty of time to develop a rapport with Tate since Johnson has missed the first two preseason games.

Stafford must have been dying for a receiver like Tate. The players who have finished No. 2 in receptions behind Johnson the past three years have been Reggie Bush in 2013 with 54 catches, Brandon Pettigrew in 2012 with 59 catches and Pettigrew again in 2011 with 83 grabs.

The receivers who have played opposite Johnson over that time have been Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree. No offense to those players, but that screams mediocrity.

Tate will make Stafford better, he will make the Lions better and he will enhance Fantasy lineups with his ability in a high-powered offense. You should plan on drafting Tate as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver and he has the chance to help you win championships this season.

This is going to be a career year for Tate and he's ready to become a Fantasy star.

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Player News
Saints place DE Anthony Spencer on injured reserve
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:38 pm ET) The Saints have placed defensive end Anthony Spencer on the season-ending injured reserve list, per ESPN.com.

Spencer is dealing with an unspecified injury that has kept him sidelined since the team's first preseason contest. He is coming off a serious knee injury in 2013. 

Spencer has 33 sacks in eight NFL seasons, including 11 in 2012, when he made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Cowboys. 


Panthers cut seven, place WR Benjamin on IR
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:24 pm ET) The Panthers reached the NFL's 75-man limit Tuesday thanks to a series of moves, including placing star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin on the season-ending injured reserve list with a knee injury, per a team release. 

Carolina waived WR Jarrett Boykin, DT Kenny Horsley, S Robert Lester and WR De'Andre Presley, placed OT Davonte Wallace and CB Melvin White on the waived/injured list and reached an injury settlement with DT Micanor Regis.


Steelers give WR Antonio Brown $2 million raise
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:14 pm ET) Thanks to some creative math, the Steelers were able to give star receiver Antonio Brown a $2 million bonus for his season, per NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport. 

Brown had considered holding out this season, but reported to camp. The Steelers were able to restructure some contracts and find the extra money, and now Brown will make $8 million this season. 

Brown caught 129 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.


Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) placed on season-ending IR
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:50 pm ET) The Jets announced Tuesday they have placed tight end Jace Amaro on the season-ending injured reserve list due to a torm labrum in his shoulder, per the Daily News.

Amaro will undergo surgery later this week, according to Jets coach Todd Bowles. Amaro had four receptions for 38 yards and two touchdowns last season. 


Rams trim roster by 13 players
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:34 pm ET) The Rams reached the NFL's 75-man roster limit Tuesday with the release of 13 players, per ESPN.com, who include: OT Steven Baker, OT Travis Bond, CB Imoan Claiborne, S Jay Hughes, LB Keshaun Malone, LS Tyler Ott, K/P Michael Palardy, WR Tyler Slavin, TE Brad Smelley (waived/injured), LB Korey Toomer (waived/injured), C David Wang, WR Damian Williams (contract terminated) and DT Doug Worthington.

CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on injured reserve. The Rams had previously waived/injured receiver Isiah Ferguson but he reverted to injured reserve with a torn ACL.


Bengals make eight more moves to get to 75
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:10 pm ET) In addition to the moves the Bengals made Monday, most notably releasing receiver Denarius Moore, the team cut seven more players to get down to the 75-man limit, per ESPN.com. 

The team released WR Desmond Lawrence, LB Nico Johnson, DT Kwame Geathers, DE Sam Montgomery, OG Chris Jasperse, TE John Peters and WR Tevin Reese

The team put FB Mark Weisman and WR Onterio McCalebb on the waived/injured list, LB Sean Porter on the reserve/PUP list and OT Cedric Ogbuehi on the reserve/non-football injury list.


Ravens place TE Dennis Pitta (hip) on Reserve-PUP list
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:39 pm ET) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta was placed on the team's Reserve-PUP list Tuesday, meaning the tight end could return to the roster in Week 7, per ESPN.com. 

Pitta has been limited to just seven games over the last two seasons after twice dislocating his hip, and the team wants to bring him along slowly. However, the reports suggests a midseason return in optimistic, given Pitta has not been cleared by doctors or been allowed to practice. 


Falcons RB Devonta Freeman getting closer to 100 percent
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:04 pm ET) Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, was an active participant at practice Monday, an encouraging sign for a player who was thought to be the team's starter, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Freeman hurt his hamstring on Aug. 6 and has not played in any of the team's preseason contests. It's not clear if Freeman will play in the team's final game Thursday. 

"He ran it well today," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "Limited reps, but it was awesome to see him."


Buccaneers cut five to get down to 75 players
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:31 am ET) The Buccaneers cut five players Tuesday to get down to the NFL-mandated 75-man limit, with the biggest name being punter Michael Koenen

Tampa Bay decided to go with first-year punter Jacob Schum over the veteran Koenen. The rest of the Bucs' cuts include guard Josh Allen, WR Robert Herron and corner Leonard Johnson. Defensive tackle Akeem Spence was placed on the PUP list. 


Dolphins cut former Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:22 am ET) Punter Brandon Fields took a pay cut in the offseason but it wasn't enough for him to hold on to his job, as the former Pro Bowler was cut by the Dolphins Tuesday, per the Miami Herald

Fields was beat out by rookie kicker Matt Darr in most stats during training camp and preseason, and the Dolphins decided to go with the younger (and cheaper) kicker. 


 
 
 
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